Release

Leia Stratford

Year 11
School: School of Isolated and Distance Education
Medium: Watercolour and pencil on canvas

Artist statement: This artwork Release was inspired by my companion Tara and my awareness of mental health and youth issues in society today. The focal point is the metamorphosis of the face with the combination of emotions being expressed by one individual. They begin with a neutral mood on the right-hand side of the piece, which ascends towards the top left corner, increasing in intensity. This is symbolic of all the emotions that an individual can feel, but it is also what connects us all and makes us human. The recurring motif of birds is symbolic of freedom. The birds flying out of Tara’s mouth are a direct link to the title Release. I have used a combination of wet media and pencil on canvas to create a juxtaposition between freedom and entrapment. The use of pencil in the centre of the image is refined and controlled, which signifies how teenagers can feel repressed and unable to find an outlet for their emotional state. As the eye drifts off to the edges of the canvas, the wet medium is dripping and splattering, which represents playfulness and release. The negative space is important because this represents the divide between release and entrapment. I notice in my own behaviours, and that of many teenagers, that we have adapted to meet the expectations of ourselves and others. We are also influenced byschooling, social media, self-image and mental health. This artwork hopes to inspire teenagers to find a positive release to avoid emotions of isolation, anger and fear of expressing one’s self, and to remind us that it is okay to not be okay.

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